Hello! My name is Tammy Zumbusch. I am fortunate enough to be Zion’s Grapple leader for our 5th and 6th grade boys and girls. Grapple is a curriculum that truly speaks the language of preteens. It is designed to answer real life questions and tackle issues preteens care most about. In essence, we “grapple” with issues that kids their age deal with, finding answers by digging into the Bible. My experience with Grapple has been nothing short of one of the greatest blessings in my life thus far. Let me explain why, and I believe the reason to be two-fold.
First it is my belief that children are born, “knowing” God. We are all made in his image and therefore we, “feel” Him, His love, His presence, before we can put it to words. We all have an innate yearning to get closer to Him. One of my favorite stories is about Helen Keller. When she was finally given the gift of language and was taught about God she simply said, “I knew it!” No one was there to impose their views on her, and yet, she felt His presence. That is the coolest thing about teaching children, you aren’t working alone. The Holy Spirit is there to guide you every step of the way. You are awakening in them what has already been “built in” by the Master Craftsman. The children we teach are CREATED to love, worship and serve their Heavenly Father. By being there and guiding them, we help foster that relationship. Witnessing a child grow in his/her relationship with God is like getting a front row seat to watch a flower bloom, a breeze cool someone off, or an ocean produce waves. We get to witness them become who they were created to be.
The second reason has to do with my personal relationship with God. I am married, with 5 children. Life gets hectic. We pray before meals and before bed. God is a part of our everyday life as a family. However, our relationship with God, like anything, takes time and effort to flourish. Before Grapple, I found myself often times putting my relationship with Him after my relationship with my children and my husband. Sometimes extended family would even get a higher priority. Which is just silly as all my ability to love comes from Him. I never stopped having faith, or stopped worshipping Him, I just didn’t take time to nurture our relationship. However, when I prepared for Grapple, I would do so by first praying that the Holy Spirit work through me to reach the children and I would, simply stated, spend time with Scripture. I would decode it for the sake of explanation for the kids. This would also clarify the message for me and I would find myself learning and seeing the well-known Bible stories in a whole new light. (I guess that is why it is called the Living Word.) I came to realize that the days I spend preparing for Grapple, I would experience a sense of peace throughout the entire day. Since then, and because of that fact, I have made my relationship with Him a priority. I take every day to spend time with Scripture.
I am convinced that it is when we use our passions/gifts for the glory of God, that the time and effort we put forth will always pale in comparison to the Heaven Sent blessings we receive.